Louisville has been addressing deficiencies in defensive depth this class. They started with the defensive line, then the secondary, and mixed in a couple of OLBs along the way. Now, they are seeking to build the ILB. Today, they addressed that need in a major way with the addition of Jaylin Alderman.
Alderman is a 6’1 215 lbs ILB from Valdosta, GA. While 247sports has no ranking for him at this point, I’m sure during their next set of evaluations Alderman will be a 3 Star prospect. Rivals does rank Alderman a 3 Star prospect. Alderman chose Louisville over offers from East Carolina, Akron, Cincinnati, Kent State, Middle Tennessee State, and FIU, among others. While not the most impressive offer list, it is reasonable to assume Alderman would have more offers had summer camps taken place. This is a reasonable assumption once anyone watches his highlights.
Alderman plays for the Valdosta Wildcats in Class 6A in GA. Last season, he was named to the Class 6A All State South Region First Team as a LB by the GACA Coaches. He played both LB and TE for Valdosta. Louisville is obviously looking at Alderman as a LB.
Here are breakdowns of Alderman’s game by our analysts Shawn and Sam.
Jaylin Alderman is a smart LB. He’s very good at reading plays, reacting, and attacking. Alderman is an excellent tackler and shows some ability to be a good coverage LB. Alderman is at his best attacking. His patience keeps him from over-pursuit and allows him to see the play develop. Lateral quickness combined with a quick burst allow him to cover a lot of space and make it difficult to fool him with cutback runs.
The first thing that stands out about Alderman is his ability to read and react. Once again, a theme shared by many in this 2021 class on the defensive side of the ball. On pass plays, he will read the QB’s eyes to help guide him to the correct spot. On run plays, he takes time to read plays. His athletic ability allows him to do this. Once he knows what’s going on, his reaction is swift and true. Often his ability will result in a tackle for loss or a minuscule gain for the RB.
The reason he can be so patient in reading plays is that he has excellent lateral quickness and good burst to the ball. One play that highlights both is the second highlight of his film. The play is a run where the RB shows as if he’s going right up the middle. Alderman reacts to this initial phase of the play. The RB believes he has fooled Alderman and immediately cuts to the left. Alderman uses a quick lateral movement to fill the gap he vacated and then a nice burst to get to the RB and hold him to no gain on the play. The ability to move quickly laterally also shows up in his coverage.
Alderman shows some ability to cover. While he can cover man on man, he seems at his best in zone. This allows him to read the QB’s eyes and get to where he needs to be to make a play. His lateral quickness means he can cover quite a bit of ground when covering as well.
The patience Alderman exhibits is amazing. You will rarely see him over-pursue on a play. His eyes are his greatest weapon in this regard as he uses them to diagnose plays and wreck them. He trusts his eyes and athletic ability so much, he’s willing to wait until the plays fully develop before attacking. It makes him a much more effective LB against the run as he’s not as susceptible to cutback and read-option type of runs. He will likely do well against any type of option running attack.
For any ILB, tackling is a paramount skill. Jaylin Alderman is an excellent form tackler. Always with his head up, he squares up nicely. He makes sure to stay low and wraps up with both arms. He then drives his legs and drives the ball carrier back and into the ground. It looks like he’s doing tackling drills in the game. When he isn’t able to form tackle, Alderman has the strength to flat out yank people to the ground. I highly doubt you would see or will see Alderman miss many tackles.
Jaylin Alderman reminds me of Keith Kelsey. He’s around the same size and both are excellent read and react LBs that tackle well. Alderman will need to get a little better in coverage, but I don’t see why he can’t. Where he will be a true and effective weapon is in shutting down the opponent’s running attack. He’s a smart player and vicious tackler. It’s highly unlikely an offense will be able to fool him with misdirection runs, but even if they do, he has the athletic ability to recover and still make the play. It’s my feeling Alderman will be a very good ILB and would likely have been pursued by more power 5 schools had the pandemic not hit.
Jaylin Alderman, the 6’1 215 lbs linebacker out of Valdosta, GA is a special talent. Alderman is a highly underrated talent coming out of Georgia. Alderman is: fast, smart, patient and instinctive. Fans may not know much about him, but I’m going to help you out with that as best as I can. Hopefully we’ll have a football season, so that this young man can get more recognition.
The Georgia linebacker is a straight up leader. He is what you want at and from your linebacker position. Alderman has the potential to be a defensive anchor for the Cards at his ILB position for years to come. He is a high IQ player, with extremely high awareness on the field. He trusts his eyes, his instincts, and his athletic ability to quickly and efficiently make a play on the ball or the ball carrier. A very instinctive player, Jaylin finds and plugs holes made by offensive lineman quickly and violently to tackle ball carriers. Jaylin’s instincts and anticipation allows him to play fast on defense.
Jaylin Alderman has decent speed for a linebacker. Alderman can run sideline to sideline with the best of athletes. I’m really impressed with Alderman’s lateral quickness. I believe he has James Burgess type of quickness and explosion when he’s preparing to tackle. Although Jaylin is very fast, he’s also very patient. He doesn’t over run plays and angles. Alderman is consistently patient enough to wait for plays to develop before he breaks on a play. I see a mixture of a current Louisville linebacker (CJ Avery) and a former Louisville linebacker (Keith Kelsey)& Dorian in Alderman’s style of play.
Coaches can only do so much; they can call the perfect play and have players in the right position, but it’s up to the player to make the play. Alderman makes and finishes plays on a regular basis. He takes great angles when approaching the ball and wraps up the ball carrier for a sure tackle. Alderman is sure tackler, but he’s also a guy that will lay out offensive players. What I really like about Jaylin’s game is that he plays fast and violent. With each hit that Jaylin puts on the opposing team’s running backs, they get up a little slower and slower each time.
Louisville has addressed the OLB position, but has been looking to add to the ILB position. They will be losing the very talented Dorian Etheridge and CJ Avery who both man the ILB positions of Will and Mike LB. Jaylin Alderman is a player that helps provide depth and will eventually, in our opinion, start, at one of those positions. His style of play is reminiscent of Keith Kelsey; a guy that can read plays, react quickly and correctly, and make perfect form tackles. He’s solid, smart, and a run stopper. Alderman is exactly the type of player Bryan Brown and Scott Satterfield want in their linebacking corps. It’s likely Louisville fans will enjoy watching this young man tackle ACC RBs for 4 years.
With Jaylin Alderman’s commitment, Louisville now has 20 for the 2021 class. 247sports has Louisville’s class ranked 21st overall and 4th in the ACC. Now, Louisville looks to put the finishing touches on 2021.